Ana Neto and Daniela Marques have been friends since 1998—a friendship that ultimately blossomed into a business partnership when they formed their leather goods brand Maria Maleta. Based in Portugal, the brand is known for its accessories and bags, made with high-quality raw materials sourced in Portugal.
With durability, design, and quality the basis of their practice, Neto and Marques’ ambition is to make long-lasting products. All materials are selected based on their resistance and durability, and the brand offers a lifetime warranty with all their leather products.
But ultimately, it’s the spirit of friendship that is most prominent in their handbags. “We believe that every person has two personal sides, therefore most of our products reflect that versatility as they can be used in many different ways,” they write on their website. “There is no stereotypes neither any rules, that is the freedom to be expressed in a timeless product.”
“Maria/Maleta bags are special because they are the consequence of a true friendship,” Marques added in an interview with Licorne Magazine. “Each bag has a little bit of us. The concept ‘One woman, one bag- two sides to choose’ is basically what Ana and I are; one bag with two personalities. Furthermore, these bags are made with a lot of dedication, love and only with good raw materials. These bags are for carrying a history through life. We want a bag for life and not simply a trendy bag.”
With timeless fashion (rather than trendy fashion) on their mind, the co-founders say they have to be careful with their quality standards and differentiated designs. “These two points are the key factors in achieving timeless fashion: differentiated design and quality,” notes Marques. “I think you can clearly see the differences in the production and the quality of the materials.”
The brand is also in dialogue with the past, continuing the rich handmade tradition which Portugal has come to be known for, especially when it comes to the leather goods industry. “In Portugal there is a lot of history in this kind of production,” says Neto. “So, our production is made in Portugal, in the north near Porto.”
Purchase a bag here.